Social Dancing Makes Me a Happier Therapist

Posted by: Bonney Elliott on June 12, 2015 8:18 am

It may even help me be a better one.

Here are a ten reasons why.

1. Dance modulates mood. Fridays after work, I am so tempted to flake out on the couch in front of Netflix. Relaxing, sure. Sometimes I do, only to wake up to Saturday mballet-111705_640orning chores still holding onto the emotional residue of the week. Dancing, on the other hand, releases accumulated stress, and the grip of poignant client stories. Whatever humor I may arrive in is soon influenced by the music. The upbeat bounce of Swing, the sweet lilt of Waltz, the flirtatious rhythm of Latin, or the poignant melody of Argentine Tango. Each in its own way sweeps me into a more positive frame of mind.

2. Dance is expressive. After just a few turns of the dance floor, I feel lighter, more myself.

3. Dance is just the right amount of social. I sit with people all week, actively listening and problem solving. As much as I look forward to seeing friends outside of work, sometimes the last thing I want to do is sit and talk some more, especially at a loud, crowded pub or a restaurant. Not for lack of caring, but because I am depleted. The empathy meter is low, capacity for concentration and conversation diminished. Dancing recharges my emotional batteries.

4. Dance is connecting. I cherish the friends and acquaintances I have met through social dance. Happy people of all ages and from different walks of life who I might never cross paths with in my regular day to day. Yet we share a common passion.

5. Dance gets me out of my head. From focus on thinking and problem solving, to being fully in my body. And it fosters authentic non-verbal communication.

6. Dance is good for brain, body and soul. Learning the technicalities of different steps improves memory and may stave off dementia. Mastering sequences and turns improves balance and coordination. The exercise of dancing may not burn quite as many calories as running on the treadmill, but it is much more enjoyable. Dancing keeps my spirit lifted

7. Dance takes courage. It took much convincing from very good friends to set foot on the dance floor for the first time. The process is both ego destroying and confidence building. Social dancing has drawn mdance-705644_640e out of my personal bubble, my comfort zone, and this is a good thing.

8. Dance nurtures compassion for self and others. I am not bestowed with natural rhythm or coordination, and have stepped on so many toes (especially my own) in the process of learning. To persevere and improve, I have to be able to cut myself some slack and smile when I mess up.

9. Social dance involves leading and active following. Neither role is easy. Both teach us to be present and connect, to be mindful of the interplay of timing, rhythm. These skills translate beautifully into the therapy space, and into life.

10. Dance is playful, a perfect balance to the work I do.

Social dancing may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is worth trying. Nothing beats the dance floor for letting go of stress and connecting with joy.

 




*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

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